Get to know our 2017 School Captain, Mackenzie Leyden, and Vice-Captain, Georgie Sitch.
Mackenzie and Georgie share their thoughts and plans for the year ahead and their leadership roles as School Captain and Vice Captain.
What are some of the duties you will take on in your roles?
Mackenzie: As School Captain, I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be fully immersed in all aspects of life at St Catherine’s School. In this sense, I can support younger girls throughout the year, as well as be a role model to those around me. Georgie and I are excited to introduce new initiatives, as well as take part in the formal aspects of holding a leadership position. However, most importantly, we wish to ensure that every single girl knows that they are an important, valued member of the St Catherine’s community.
Georgie: St Catherine’s has never followed a top-down model of leadership. This year we view our role as being everywhere for the girls, not just on the stage. As part of a wider Year 12 group we will work together to foster leadership in all its capacities, in every aspect of the School. From observing past School leaders, Mackenzie and I have learnt that fun can be a powerful unifying agent. In this tradition, laughter and spontaneity will be at the forefront of our initiatives – setting a tone of positivity and cohesion for 2017.
What attracted you to a position on the Student Executive?
Mackenzie: Throughout my time at St Catherine’s, I have always been fully embraced by the school community, and I wanted to continue to cultivate an environment where every girl feels comfortable and confident to be themselves without fear of judgment. I applied for a position on the Student Executive so that I could play a role in shaping this culture, as well as advocate the true meaning of what it is to be a St Catherine’s girl.
Georgie: I love my School. I hope to contribute to another year at St Catherine’s we can all be proud of.
What makes a good leader?
Mackenzie: I strongly believe that there is no specific recipe or formula to being a successful leader, rather, the leaders who we praise and admire are those who are genuine and authentic. Every leader is different in their style and approach, and a good leader has the ability to combine their specific skill set with their own individuality in order to achieve truly great things. This particular authenticity is key in leading and inspiring others.
Georgie: A good leader is directional. They are receptive to the vibe and energy of the student body and move to ‘translate’ it into positive responses and measures to push for new forums of discussion. They must have an emotional investment in the place they are leading, not accepting a single day without challenge and critical thinking.
Is there a high profile or community leader that you admire?
Mackenzie: As someone who has always been surrounded by incredible role models, particularly strong women, it is difficult to choose just one leader that I admire. However, it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said “you must do the things you think you cannot do”, and this mantra reflects the passion, dedication and perseverance with which she embraced the responsibilities and duties of being the First Lady. Her prolific leadership, and subsequent positive impact that she had on the changing world around her, is an important reminder that we can do the things that we think we cannot do.
Georgie: My teachers at St Catherine’s lead us in thinking. Under their guidance we develop a strong sense of self and a confidence in our passions, concerns and aspirations. Staff at St Catherine’s encourage individual thought with humour and dedication. It is under this respect and care that we can find ourselves as young adults.
How would you like to be remembered as student leaders of St Catherine’s?
Mackenzie: The legacy that Georgie and I wish to leave is simple: we hope to be remembered as authentic, passionate and the captains who did everything possible to ensure that 2017 was a truly fantastic year. The most we can do is be ourselves, and in doing so, we hope to be approachable, empathetic and dedicated so that every St Catherine’s girl can achieve her full potential this year.
Georgie: As somebody who never took for granted the trust and responsibility the girls have placed in her, and someone who did her best. In the long term, beyond School, I would love to be known as a point of contact and mentorship.
What do you enjoy about St Catherine’s School?
Mackenzie: Since starting at St Catherine’s in Year 7, I have always valued the sense of community and belonging that is synonymous with tying the blue ribbon in my hair each and every day. It is this rare supportive and inclusive culture which defines St Catherine’s. I am extremely grateful to be able to spend my defining teenage years in such an environment. For me, what makes St Catherine’s so special is, irrefutably, the people.
Georgie: Nobody is a stranger. We applaud one another’s individual abilities and talents. We learn from those above and foster those below, remembering always how lucky we are to be a part of a community founded on such mutual support and consideration.